‘Decolonising the curriculum, the help teachers need and the role of the archives in achieving a decolonised history’ Orlene Badu, Leadership and Education consultant 

Around every other month since November 2020 ALES have been holding Lunchtime Talks about a varriety of topics from History Hackathons to accessible learning. On November the 7th they ran their first two-hour online event with Leadership and Education Consultant Orlene Badu. This session focused on ‘Decolonising the curriculum, the help teachers need and the role of the archives in achieving a decolonised history’.

In this two-hour Session Orlene covered a huge amount on inclusion, language, resources and ideas to show how we as archivists can support teachers delivering the curriculum in schools. There were also break-out rooms with great discussions and useful takeaways from other archivists attending the talk. I would like to share some of the notes I made during the session which perhaps could be used as tips or things to think about when carrying out such vital work.

It’s ok to feel anxious about phrasing

Schools reflect society and how they think about the inclusion of pupils

There has been a shift in the way of working to non-racist vs anti-racist

A new lens is required

Be aware of bias in what you provide

Curriculum is a great place to start

Provides a sense of belonging

Tells us how children view each other

The curriculum needs to be:

More positive

Less Eurocentric

Can’t just fall back on slavery, needs to cover other experiences

Schools tend to focus on the diversity of teaching staff but it is more important to focus on anti-racism

Language is really important

Skills and confidence are needed to deliver this

Inclusion is about how someone feels when included

Fake news is nothing new

As well as this useful list of tips and future actions Orlene also included a list of helpful literature and podcasts to help attendees create a resource library. One such book was How to build your anti-racist classroom written by Orlene (due out in April 2023)

Overall the session was interesting, informative and full of ideas which could be acted on to help support teachers using the archives. A big thank you to Orlene and the ALES team for putting on such a great session.

Jenny Hunt

ALES Communications and Social Media Officer ALES

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